News blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf neighborhood

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North Precinct might just be too short-staffed to respond

September 24th, 2014 by Mai Ling

For those of you who have been wondering where the police are when allegedly stolen safes show up or when other nonviolent crimes take place in Maple Leaf, a memo leaked to explains what could be to blame.

According to the confidential memo, the detectives at the North Precinct are simply too short-staffed to investigate most burglaries:

A police source said that unless burglary detectives have a suspect’s name, evidence photos or surveillance footage, and complete witness interviews, it’s unlikely a case will even get worked let alone solved. …

The memo says at one point, 14 detectives worked burglary, theft and juvenile cases for the north precinct. Today it’s down to two detectives and an on-loan patrol officer, even though the memo says cases have climbed to 1,500 a month. The memo concludes, “misdemeanor and even many felony crimes can no longer be investigated except on a very rare, case by case basis.”

But don’t worry, the Seattle Police Department doesn’t want us to think this is an invitation for burglars and other petty criminals to come prowling in Maple Leaf. According to

The Seattle Police Department insists it’s not turning a blind eye to burglaries in the north end, despite reports the north precinct is too short staffed to investigate most incidents.

And a spokesperson also has said that burglary cases also are investigated by the major crimes task force.

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Lost: Rocky the dog, Izzy the cat

September 22nd, 2014 by Mike

Update : Rocky is home, having spent the night at the animal shelter.

“Thanks to whoever picked him up and got him somewhere safe and thank you very much for posting that he was missing it meant a lot to us.”


A tale of two lost pets.

Clayton emails:

“My highly social dog Rocky jumped the back fence of our home on Northeast 98th Street and 12th Avenue Northeast to go say ‘hi’ to the neighborhood at 6:00 on Sunday (September 21). He is a large white and tan Shepherd/Mix he is very friendly and gravitates to other dogs.

“If you should see him or have been visited by him please contact Clayton or Isla (206) 525-4823 or reach me by cell at (206) 240-0313.”

And Junko emails:

I’m hoping you might be able to help us get the word out about our lost cat, Izzie. We’ve lived in Maple Leaf for 15 years (on Fifth Avenue Northeast and Northeast 80th Street) and thought Maple Leaf Life might be the perfect way to reach the broader community.

Missing since 8/28/2014 when she was scared off by work being done on the exterior of our house

Female, “grey” (black/brown/creme) tabby with short hair

She is people-shy and scares easily

15-16 lbs with large belly

If you see her please call: (206) 930-3154

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Pickle ball adepts: “Please don’t wreck the courts”

September 21st, 2014 by Mike

This weekend two emails arrived from Pickle Ball players at Maple Leaf Reservoir Park. Both are polite, and similar. They deal with a subject we figured would come up.

Jeff writes:

PLEASE, users of the wonderful Maple Leaf Park, if you see people using the pickle ball nets for something other than hitting small plastic balls across or into, PLEASE try to point out to them these nets are not going to endure that sort of thing.

He means the nets won’t take it, and notes he saw a child yanking at one.  “As of the last few weeks, one of the nets has been damaged, torn a bit in a lower side section. It is impossible to imagine this happened due to a pickle ball.”

And Nancy writes:

It seems to me that pickle ball is a new enough sport in this area that perhaps some signage would be helpful. If people see the nets as soccer nets and jungle gyms, they are going to be damaged, to the detriment of the people who want to play pickle ball. I think perhaps the community needs just a little bit of education.

She adds:

I would also like to offer the suggestion that the practice wall be removed in favor of putting up a third net and court. There is plenty of room, and people don’t use the practice board, in part because it is not a smooth surface, but has carved decorations that make the ball bounce at odd angles. I think there’s plenty of interest for a third court and I would love to support that initiative in anyway that I can.

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Crime comparison fails to show increase here

September 19th, 2014 by Mike

We get a lot of comments speculating on whether crime is increasing in Maple Leaf.

Generally speaking, the answer is “probably not,” but it’s tough to compare.

One way is to use statistics the Seattle Police Department compiles by patrol beat.

A problem is that Maple Leaf takes up chunks, but not all, of three different patrol beats in the North Precinct: Nora 3, Union 1 and Lincoln 2 (see map to right).

The beat that has the largest piece of Maple Leaf is Union 1 – that’s the chart at the top of this post.

There, the most recent  statistics for all property crimes  – burglaries, stolen cars, theft and such, the most common crimes here – are currently about in the middle of the years from 2008 to 2013. (The black line is 2013.)

Pretty much the same thing for Lincoln 2 (below).

But not so much in Nora 3 (below), where property crimes seem to be swinging up.

In other words, pretty much the same as in when we looked in 2011.

That’s not to say the statistics convey emotional meaning. For example earlier this week the rear window of a car on Northeast 92nd Street was shot out around 1:30 a.m. Neighbors heard the shots and were shocked this happened on their street.

But statistically, that incident isn’t reported as a drive-by shooting (because only a car was injured), but as a simple property crime. Specifically, “property damage – non residential.”

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Gunshots on N.E. 92nd early this morning – Subaru hit

September 15th, 2014 by Mike

“Heads up to the area,” Katie emails.

At around 1:30 a.m. between three and four gunshots were heard by several neighbors on Northeast 92nd Street between Eighth and Fifth avenues northeast, followed by the sound of car tires peeling out.

“This morning I saw that my neighbor’s car had a bullet hole in the back seat.”

One shot clearly broke the back window of this Subaru Forester before embedding in the right rear seat.

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How will they fix our underground reservoir (yes, the one with the new park on top)?

September 12th, 2014 by Mike

Since the beginning of summer, when Seattle Public Utilities agreed that its four underground reservoirs – including ours – might fail in a catastrophic earthquake, a good question has been: What will the city do about it?

Now the West Seattle Blog has at least a partial answer.

The West Seattle Reservoir, together with the Maple Leaf, Beacon Hill and Myrtle reservoirs, need retrofitting after it was discovered contractors used a construction formula designed for above ground, not underground, reservoirs.

Yes, we know the new Maple Leaf Reservoir Park – on top of the underground reservoir – just opened last fall.

First on the list for retrofitting is West Seattle, which went into service four years ago. The work is expected to cost over $7 million.

According to an earlier West Seattle Blog post (and one of ours, too): “First thing you should know is: SPU says the reservoirs ‘are in no danger of catastrophic failure,’ even without the retrofits.”

It was stressed that none of the reservoirs will have to be dug back open for these retrofits – the work will be done inside, with crews and equipment accessing through existing maintenance hatches.

This week the West Seattle Blog reported work is about to start on the reservoir there and will run through March. It also posted a copy of the construction notice (pdf).

It says, in part:

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Green Lake water closed – even for dogs

September 12th, 2014 by Mike

This from Seattle parks this afternoon:

‘The level of toxins in the algae at Green Lake has increased and has prompted parks and Public Health officials to close the lake to swimming and water contact for people and dogs.

People and pets should not swim, wade or play in the lake. Dog owners should be especially cautious not to allow animals to go in or drink from the lake. If there is water contact for a pet, it is important to rinse well to remove all algae.

The lake remains open to fishing (though fish should be thoroughly cleaned) and boating in stable boats. Avoid areas of scum when boating.

A warm, dry summer has promoted the algae bloom, and continued warm weather continues to promote it. Blooms have been known to last into November in particularly warm autumns, and typically disappear as the weather gets colder.

For more information on cyanobacteria, please visit Washington Department of Health toxic algae website.

An earlier warning was released on Aug. 22nd.

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Huge plant sale today and Saturday at N. Seattle College

September 12th, 2014 by Mike

The Northwest Horticultural Society’s fall plant sale is today and Saturday at North Seattle College.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The college is just over Northeast 92nd Street, at 9600 College Way N.

The sale is huge!

Here’s a list of participating growers.

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Motorists to expect delays during final phase of Northgate Way repaving project

September 9th, 2014 by Mike

This post is from our sister site My Ballard.

SDOT will begin the final phase of its repaving project on North Northgate Way today as construction crews repave the one-block section of Northgate Way, immediately to the west of I-5.

The stretch, between Meridian Ave N and Corliss Ave N (the street immediately adjacent to the west side of I-5), will be reduced to a single travel lane in each direction. The lane reduction will remain in place until the repaving is finished in mid-November and is likely to create traffic backups.

Motorists should be aware that heavy traffic volumes during the afternoon commute could also result in backups on both the north- and southbound I-5 off-ramps. Motorists exiting I-5 at Northgate are encouraged to consider using off-ramps to either the north or south, if possible. Doing so will help to reduce congestion on Northgate Way and the I-5 off-ramps to it, as well as shorten motorist commute times.

The travel lanes of Northgate Way between Aurora Ave N and Meridian Ave N, which are currently reduced for repaving, will be fully restored to two lanes in each direction this afternoon.

Improvements that are part of the North 105th/North Northgate Way Project include complete roadway repaving, new sidewalks and curb ramps, drainage improvements, street lighting and street trees from Greenwood Avenue North to Corliss Avenue North.

SDOT is also upgrading traffic signals from Greenwood Ave N to Lake City Way NE (and along Lake City Way to N 120th St), as well as installing two new dynamic message signs to provide drivers with real time travel information.

The entire project is scheduled for completion in mid-November. Click here to learn more.

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The most famous ball in Maple Leaf

September 8th, 2014 by Mike

Actually, it’s Eric who wants to get the ball back home.

He found the ball over the holiday weekend between the ball fields and the playground at Maple Leaf Reservoir Park, and emailed us about it.

On Friday, KOMO TV spotted our post and wondered if they could help.

Sure.We put them in touch with Eric.

But on Saturday, while we were at Mount Rainier, Eric dropped the ball off at Maple Leaf Life South. (He was going to be hard to reach during the week.)

And this morning, KOMO stopped by.

Since then, they’ve talked with a memorabilia expert, who said the ball’s primary value is probably sentimental for the owner.

“”It looks like a game-used ball, perhaps from the Tacoma Rainiers…. It’s a good chance somebody got the ball at a game, maybe a foul ball, had some signatures put on it after the game, had some of the players sign it.”

Here’ s the KOMO piece.

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KOMO to join hunt for signed Pacific Coast League baseball?

September 5th, 2014 by Mike

Email early this morning:

Hi. My name is Luke Duecy and I’m a reporter for KOMO TV.

Saw the post about an autographed baseball … found in a park.

I like that story – and I’m wondering if we might work together to find an owner?

We’re passing his contact information on to the finder, who says the ball has many signatures from the Pacific Coast League.

For those who (like me) never heard of the Pacific Coast League, it has a typically obtuse (to non-fans) site here. “Chihuahuas, Padres extend affiliation pact.”

Fortunately, there’s Wikipedia:

The Pacific Coast League (PCL) is a minor-league baseball league operating in the Western, Midwestern, and Southeastern United States. Along with the International League and the Mexican League, it is one of three leagues playing at the Triple-A level, which is one step below Major League Baseball. It is officially named the Pacific Coast League of Professional Baseball Clubs, Inc.

Locally, we have the Tacoma Rainiers, affiliated with the Mariners.

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Signed baseball lost at Maple Leaf park?

September 4th, 2014 by Mike

Eric emails: “I found a signed baseball in the bushes between the playing field and the playground at Maple Leaf Park.

The ball is an official baseball of the Pacific Coast League and has numerous signatures. Thought you might want to post it in the lost-and-found section of the blog.

The ball was found over the holiday weekend. Thanks, Eric.

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Autumn blows in with overnight rain – good for gardens

August 31st, 2014 by Mike

It rained here Saturday night for the first time in 15 days – breaking a dry spell that had tomato plants gasping.

A total of 1.77  inches of rain fell at Maple Leaf Life South for the month of August.

Almost all of it fell overnight (0.76 inches) and on Aug. 13th (0.85 inches).

It’s true fall doesn’t officially arrive until the equinox on Sept. 23rd. But as Cliff Mass pointed out this week:

“After a beautiful summer, with warmth and relatively dry conditions from mid-July to mid-August, a reminder that we are living in the Northwest often comes in late August: the first passage of the first fall-like system.”

The forecast for the rest of Labor Day weekend? Fewer Bumbershoots.

Scattered showers today turn to party sunny conditions on Monday, with a high of 72 degrees – two degrees below the normal high.

The holiday has been as hot as 94 degrees (sheesh) in 1981 and as cold as 45 degrees in 1992, according to the National Weather Service.

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Tablet stolen from woman in wheelchair at Northgate

August 30th, 2014 by Mike

Seattle Police robbery detectives need help identifying a pair of men who snatched a tablet computer from a woman at Northgate Mall last week.

In a press release, police say the incident occurred inside the mall on Aug. 22nd.

The woman and her husband, who both use wheelchairs, were waiting for a Metro Access van when two men approached.

“”Cameras inside Northgate captured the two suspects as they crept closer and closer to the victim. After lurking near the woman for several minutes, one suspect got close enough to grab the tablet out of the her hands. Both men then fled the mall.

“If you can help police identify these suspects, please contact the SPD Robbery Unit at (206) 684-5535.”

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Roughly a car a day gets stolen or prowled here

August 28th, 2014 by Mike

Terri emails on Wednesday: “There was a dark blue 1997 Subaru stolen from Northeast 83rd Street between Northeast Fifth and Eighth avenues.

It was stolen this morning between 8 a.m and 9 a.m. It was locked.

Keep your eyes out for any suspicious people messing around at cars … even in the daylight!

Car crimes continue to be the most common crime in Maple Leaf and Seattle in general. The map below shows cars stolen or prowled in the month and a half since our last report. (Update on that report: Lisa M’s car, stolen from Thornton Place’s garage, turned up in Everett a month later.)

It shows roughly40 incidents – close to one a day.

Is that a lot?

It’s very similar to this report from 2011- the last time one of our cars was prowled.

Looking only at stolen cars, 1,697 reports show on the 2014 Seattle Police Department’s statistics chart. But that chart only includes figures through April.

For a better look, in all of 2013 3,541 cars were reported stolen, a 19 percent increase from the previous year.

In 2012 and 2011, roughly 3,400 cars were reported stolen.

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